Concept of a re-designed track at the Marie Davidson BMX Park. (Nanaimo BMX Associaton image)

City intends to help Nanaimo BMX with design phase of track upgrades

Finance and audit committee recommends council consider $35,000 expenditure

City councillors are interested in trying to help the Nanaimo BMX Association stay at the front of the pack in their sport.

City of Nanaimo council members, at a finance and audit meeting Nov. 13, recommended that the city consider providing $35,000 to the association for design work related to track redevelopment at Marie Davidson BMX Park.

The local club has already begun work on fundraising and planning for the project, which would include a total redesign and rebuild of the track at Beban Park.

Keir Graaten, speaking on behalf of the club at a committee of the whole meeting Oct. 28, said the need for track improvements isn’t a new concept, but has become a priority for the association over the last two years.

“This upgrade is essential to keep our riders safe and to be able to continue to offer our programming to our membership…” he said. “There are new technologies and design advancements making the sport safer for participants and assisting in their development.”

The upgrades will include a new ‘safety barrel’ start gate, a larger start hill re-located to the opposite corner of the track for safer access, a new track design to accommodate a wider range of skill levels, and new lighting.

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“These improvements would allow us to extend our season, hold larger events and to help position our riders to be on top of the podium for many years to come,” said Graaten.

Committee of the whole members at the Oct. 28 meeting asked for a staff report, which was presented at the finance and audit committee meeting today, Nov. 13. Staff recommended that the city proceed with working with the BMX association on detailed design work.

“The goal would be to complete a comprehensive detailed design of a new BMX track facility with detailed cost estimates in early 2020,” the report noted. “After detailed design completion, fundraising and the ability to source out other opportunities of revenue for the project would be possible due to the level of detail that will be available from this portion of the project as a whole being complete.”

Coun. Don Bonner said he’s in favour of the concept of these sorts of proposals coming to council at the design phase.

“It just frees us up so that later, when federal or provincial money becomes available as grants, we can go off to the races,” he said.

Coun. Zeni Maartman and Mayor Leonard Krog also spoke in favour of the staff recommendation.

“I think all of us have known young people who have enjoyed and recreated at this particular facility,” the mayor said.

The expenditure will be part of 2020-2024 financial plan discussions beginning later this month.

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